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Monday, 31 October 2011

AS ABIA FIGHTS ITSELF By Emmanuel Onwubiko

I am a witness to the groundswell of alleged irregularities that characterized the April 2011 governorship election in Abia State and therefore I decided to watch proceedings at the election petitions’ Tribunal to see what will come out of the spate of petitions filed by politicians who alleged electoral malpractices against the current holder of the office of the Governor of Abia State. But my attention at the election petition Tribunal has suffered spectacular distraction because of the series of dramatic and self inflicted political battles ignited by the political administration in Abia State.

I must confess that my heart, mind/Soul is in Abia because Aba City in Abia State is a spiritual home of all the Igbo speaking people all over the world because of the undeniable fact that all Igbo families are represented in the diverse entrepreneurial activities going on in that gravely neglected commercial town. I weep on daily basis for Aba, a city seen by even we ‘non-indigenes’ as our spiritual home.

Even the old Boys of the National High School Aba, Abia State in the Guardian of October 28th, 2011 described the bad situation of things currently in Aba thus; “Aba is currently held hostage by poverty, unemployment, kidnapping and crime-very low levels for a town once seen as Nigeria’s hope to join the league of industrial nations”.

Even while we bemoan the unfortunate situation of gross underdevelopment in Abia State, the government of the day is busy churning out illegal and laughable policies. One of the most atrocious discriminatory policies ever experimented by any political entity in Nigeria is the current policy by Governor Orji of Abia to compulsorily disengage the state civil servants who are not from Abia State originally.

What this bad policy implies is that even former products of the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) who secured automatic employment previously by the virtue of their excellent performance while serving Abia state have now been shown red cards to quit the Abia state civil service.

What this policy of disengagement of non-indigenes from Abia state civil service imply is that even male workers who are originally not from Abia state but are happily married to Abia state daughters have now lost their civil service positions going by the new draconian and apartheid policy of the state government.

Another dangerous implication of this primitive unconstitutional policy is that non-indigenes who have been in the state civil service for over two decades or as long as the state has been, will now be flush out even if they have few years to retire happily and secure their legal entitlements and benefits. Mr. Tu face Idibia the irrepressible entertainer and musician recently released a wonderful album he aptly titled ‘implication’. The apartheid policy in Abia indeed has several implications.

Keen observers of development in Abia would have noticed that several newspaper advertisements costing the tax payers’ several millions of naira have been placed in strategic national newspapers all in an attempt to wage media war of attrition against right thinking Nigerians who have raised their rational voices against this unusual policy.

Although some of these aides of governor Orji that I know have privately expressed their well considered opinion particularly against this anti-Igbo, anti-people and anti-progress policy, but the greater majority of the assistants of the governor have now found a way of justifying their huge salaries by dishing out illogical publications to justify some of the bad policies of their boss.

I have tried without success to locate genuine reason for Abia state government to implement this policy of targeted annihilation of non-indigenes from Abia civil service and I find it extremely difficult to believe that the current National minimum wage Act which specifies payment of at least N18,000 to civil servants as possible logical background.

Why is the Abia state government so adept at generating needless controversies?

A friend told me in Umuahia that probably the state government has decided to use one of the 48 laws of power which is ‘consistent attack’ of your opponents as a weapon of mass destruction to cover up their track since no meaningful governance and infrastructural development is going on in Abia state.

The Catholic Church has spoken out against this bad policy in the same way that several legal scholars have indeed sounded notes of warning that the policy of disengagement of non-indigenes from Abia state civil service is unconstitutional.

The Catholic Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Lucius Ugorji, says the disengagement of non-indigenes from the Abia civil service is ill-conceived and unconstitutional.  

In a statement he issued recently the cleric described the action as “discriminatory and a serious contravention of section 42(1), (2), and (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the country.”

The state government had on August 25th; issued a circular signed by Godswill Adiele, head of service, transferring non-indigenes to their states of origin with effect from October 1st 2011.

A professional colleague called to inform me that he suspects that the Abia state governor may be playing the scripts of those who never wish that any Nigerian from the South East should emerge as president come 2015 when President Goodluck has announced as his Presidential terminal date.

But I ask, what will it profit Governor Orji, of Abia state if he actively undermines the aspiration of his ethnic nationality to produce the civilian president of Nigeria in 2015 for the first time in the political annals of Nigeria?

Does Governor Orji not know that a kingdom that fights against itself can not and will not stand as the Holy Bible teaches us?

Another dimension of the political absurdities in Abia state is the decision of the state government to use the instrumentality of coercion, threats and physical violence unleashed by the Nigeria police force, Abia state command against ordinary women who have tried to protest the prolonged institutional silence to bring to justice the five male students that gang raped a teenage female student of the Abia state university. 

·              Emmanuel Onwubiko heads HUMAN Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria and can be reached on;;     


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